Why You MUST Integrate Email Campaigns With Your CRM

by Melissa Rogozinski, Chief Executive Officer and Nicolas Baltazar, Jr. Email Marketing Manager The handoff of warm, targeted leads from marketing to sales […]

by Melissa Rogozinski, Chief Executive Officer and Nicolas Baltazar, Jr. Email Marketing Manager

The handoff of warm, targeted leads from marketing to sales can define success or failure for a business. But if sales doesn’t know what marketing is doing, then you run the risk of losing those leads.

This is critical reason why a sales conversion operation must integrate its email campaigns with the customer relationship management (CRM) system, which organizes, tracks and nurtures its leads and contacts. Not should. Must. Without that connection, the organization invites inefficiency, gaps in communication, confusion, non-compliance with regulations and, ultimately, lost revenue.

Here are five reasons why integration and bilateral synchronization between your email campaigns and CRM tools are essential:

New leads will be generated through webforms

In building your mailing list, generally, the more organic the leads and contacts, the better. Recognition breeds engagement. The organization should strive to include the people who become visible through interaction with the company Website—the submission of “Contact Us” forms, gaining access to “gated” content such as whitepapers and on-demand Webinars and other means—in its outreach efforts.

Webforms that are filled out and submitted by visitors to your website should automatically generate a new Lead record in your CRM and designated as a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).  These new Leads should also be included in your Campaigns efforts. In order to facilitate this automation, a bilateral sync should be set up to run every night at midnight to make sure new CRM Leads get added into the Campaigns tool.

The analytics from email campaigns needs to auto-populate a separate “Campaigns” module within the CRM, which will keep a record of sales enablement data and marketing activity 

The integration will allow you to update certain fields in the Leads/Contacts records that can provide a roadmap for the benefit of the sales team.  This will allow the sales team to pull any given Lead or Contact record and see which email campaigns are being sent, opened, and clicked.  Additionally, a proper integration can map a field specific for “Subscriber Scoring” which will reflect the amount of engagement for each subscriber. The higher the score, the more engaged the subscriber.  If your system has advanced tracking, like Zoho does for instance, it can also provide the day and time the Lead or Contact engaged with a campaign.

This leads to what is termed closed-loop marketing, a bidirectional view into the amount of engagement, time of engagement and which campaigns/topics in which they are actually engaging. Sales teams will have better information for their sales calls, meetings and follow-ups and this will ultimately lead to closing deals – faster and more effectively. 

Subscriber scoring data within CRM promotes informed, confident follow-up by sales 

At the completion of a well-executed email campaign, a healthy set of MQLs should exist. At that point, how do the salespeople prioritize which of those MQLs to pursue first or most aggressively?

This is where subscriber scoring comes into play. This email marketing scoring methodology measures the level of engagement a lead demonstrates through the course of an email campaign, which often consists of the initial email blast and a series of subsequent “auto-responders” triggered by the recipient’s behavior; where high scores identify hot leads.

Salespeople need to know who rests at or near the top of the leaderboard, and understand the data associated with those leaders to be most effective. The integration and auto-population of this campaign-calculated data into a custom “Subscriber Score” field from Campaigns to CRM helps those professionals accomplish just that. When the systems talk to each other in this instance, the funnel flows perhaps most freely.

Sharing “unsubscribe” demands from campaign subscribers promotes compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act

If an organization’s marketers and salespeople do not understand the federal CAN-SPAM Act, now is the time to start.

This federal law dates back to the late 1990s, the Wild West days of the early Internet when unsolicited email was even more annoying than it can be now, and the protection of children from pornographic materials was a genuine concern. A major legacy of CAN-SPAM is the “Unsubscribe” link. By dictate of the law, all unsolicited marketing and sales emails must feature a clear and conspicuous means for recipients to “opt-out” of receiving future emails from the sender. The sender, in turn, risks a fine per violation if it continues to then pepper the opting-out consumer with further emails.

The Can-Spam act is mainly a campaign manager’s concern: the “unsubscribe” requests travel from the unwanted email back into Campaigns. However, from  a sales and CRM point of view, the issue is not so much legal as it is relational.  Since the “Unsubscribe” function is built into the Campaign, if a subscriber clicks, they will be unsubscribed ONLY from the existing list within Campaigns.  The API will map that action to the field in the CRM record that says “Email Opt Out.”  This is necessary so that, when the CRM syncs to Campaigns, as explained above, the “Unsubscribe/Opt Out” will exist harmoniously in both applications, solidifying compliance with CAN-SPAM Act.  It also informs the sales team as to what email activities are or are not invited by the subscriber.

Connecting the systems respects the seriousness of rising comprehensive data privacy laws

Speaking of compliance, 2020 will become known as a year in which the handling and protection of personally identifiable information (PII) of data subjects and consumers became absolutely critical. Following the 2018 enactment of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) covering contacts with residents of the European Union, the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Why should you care? The CCPA covers the PII of California residents collected, processed, stored and retained by companies with annual revenues of more than $25 million or 50,000 consumers. It also affords those California consumers the rights to know what data companies have on them, to request the erasure of that data, to know whether that information is sold to third parties and to opt out of those third-party sales via a conspicuous “Do Not Sell My Information” link on the company Website. The law also creates a private right of action for consumers to sue companies if data breaches occur. Enforcement of the CCPA by the California Attorney General began on July 1, 2020.

The law is a complete game-changer, and other states are working now to pass similar comprehensive data protection laws. What does that mean for marketing and sales teams? Starting now, those professionals better know where the data on leads and contacts resides, and how to access, provide and delete that data if and when consumers enforce their rights. The integration between your Campaigns and CRM systems will help you ensure that no PII falls into the cracks, or gets lost in the ether. Multiple entry points to the data could just keep your organization out of trouble.

In conclusion, technology enables salespeople and marketers to function with precision and convert at percentages that the guys from the Glengary Glenross era could only imagine. All that technology, though, produces a series of point solutions that can be only so effective if those solutions are not talking to one another or forming an end-to-end system.

The integrations might take some careful, architectural planning and intricate work by your marketing operations professionals to accomplish, but the black hole of lost leads and risk of non-compliance is a slow death an ambitious enterprise cannot afford.

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